Fight Club is one of those rare novels that sticks with you. And sticks with you. And sticks with you. You see a man walking the sidewalk, phone against his ear and Rolex on his wrist and you wonder, ‘Is he happy in his completeness?’
Fight Club transcends being a book and becomes a filter through which you view the world.
If you couldn’t tell, I loved this novel. Perhaps it is because I empathize so completely with just about everything that Palahniuk is saying here. The scathing, relentless commentary on our greedy, Capitalistic, materialistic society is so completely on-point that it is hard to believe Fight Club was written 24 years ago. Our culture has only gone further down the path that Palahniuk rails against, and it has only made his work more poignant.
But the best part of Fight Club is that Palahniuk manages to weave a genuinely compelling story on top of and underneath and interspersed with his philosophy. The first time reader will be completely surprised by the revelation that the narrator and Tyler are the same person though, having read the novel multiple times now, I can see the clues are there. Pointing at the obvious truth.
Palahniuk’s philosophy makes the narrator relatable. Who doesn’t hate their tiny, insignificant job? Who doesn’t feel like all of their material possessions are vapid pronouncements of Capitalistic gain? Perhaps it is only me, and people like me, that empathize with this mindset.
If there is anything I didn’t like about Fight Club, it is perhaps that the story seems to be lacking a direction until the revelation about Tyler. Until that point, it is a jumble of seemingly random events that don’t particularly connect to one another. I realize that this intentional, but I also remember being very confused about the purpose of the novel the first time I read it. Until the narrator’s identity is made clear, Fight Club sometimes feels like a directionless vehicle to deliver Palahniuk’s vicious societal commentary.
I believe that, regardless of your personal view on Capitalism and consumerism and materialism, everyone should read Fight Club at least once. Just once. Maybe one time is enough to see the light of truth burning away the clouds constructed by society. Or maybe not. Whatever your feelings about Fight Club, just remember…. don’t talk about it.